Being in Iowa

Being in Iowa is a series of multi-part reports that goes in-depth to examine what it is like to be a minority in Iowa. The reports look at the issues, history, cultural traditions, challenges and future of each diverse group of people that are part of Iowa. Reporter Rob Dillard tells the stories by talking with the leaders and having intimate discussions with some members of each group, and taking listeners to the places that exemplify these communities.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation, the Alliant Energy Foundation, The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation, and Veridian Credit Union.

Ways to Connect

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Today, Rob Dillard examines the mental problems that sometimes beset veterans after they serve their country. Many turn to booze and drugs to fight off the demons that haunt their dreams after fighting during wartime. Thousands of them wind up on the streets or in homeless camps after they fail to reconnect with family and friends. Rob sees what’s being done in Iowa to help these troubled veterans.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Iowa Public Radio reporter Rob Dillard has met with military service organizations and health-care providers in an attempt to uncover issues that face many veterans on their return to civilian life. Now, he takes on a lighter topic. Rob has found a bunch of Iowa veterans who are in the entertainment business – tooting horns, pounding drums and bringing joy to audiences statewide.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been taking a look at what it means to be a military veteran in the state. Today, reporter Rob Dillard talks with members of military service organizations. Nationwide, these groups have struggled to maintain membership levels in recent time. Some of the smaller chapters are in danger of disappearing altogether. In Iowa, however, Rob found they continue to play an important role in the social lives of many veterans and their families.

Over the next five days, Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard will be asking the question, “What does it mean to be a military veteran in the state?” The U.S. Census pegs the number of veterans in Iowa at more than 245-thousand. Ask many older veterans what their top concern is, they’ll tell you health care. A third of Iowa’s former service members are aging baby boomers, who served during the Vietnam era. Another 30 percent fought in World War Two or Korea and are growing frailer by the day. Rob tells us access to health care is a major focus for veterans’ groups and hospitals.

Being Latino in Iowa

Apr 1, 2011

All this week we’ve been hearing what it’s like “Being Latino in Iowa” from Iowa Public Radio’s Rob Dillard. This hour, we top off the series with discussion about the pull many Iowa Latinos feel between the need to assimilate into American culture and the desire to hold on to their heritage. Rob Dillard will join us. Also, JoAnn Mackey, Executive Director of Latino Resources; Juan Pena of New Life Furniture in Des Moines; and Nancy Gardner, Principal of West Liberty Elementary School, a school with the only dual language program in the state.

Iowa Public Radio concludes its week-long series of answers to the question, “what does it mean to be Latino in Iowa?” Reporter Rob Dillard Rob has traversed the state, stopping in small towns, shopping in Mexican grocery stores, listening to Spanish-language radio stations and meeting a young woman who recently celebrated a big birthday. In the conclusion of the series, he introduces us to some Mexican cowboys.

This week, Iowa Public Radio has been exploring Latino life in the state as part of the series, “Being in Iowa.” Today we learn about a celebration that is the major date on the social calendars for many young Latinas – especially those from Mexican heritage. It happens right around the time a girl turns 15. As Iowa Public Radio's Rob Dillard reports, families often spare no expense in honoring this coming-of-age event.

More and more Latino groceries and restaurants have opened in cities and towns across the state in recent years. As Rob Dillard reports, they are offering an array of new flavors to many Iowans.

Being in Iowa is funded in part by The Principal Financial Group Foundation.

Latino immigrants have wielded a huge influence over the media landscape in Iowa. Twenty years ago when they first began to arrive looking for work, almost all of the newspapers they saw and broadcast outlets they heard were delivered in English. But as Iowa Public Radio's Rob Dillard tells us, these days it's nearly impossible to scan a radio dial or walk by a newspaper stand without noticing some content in Spanish.

"Being in Iowa" starts with a series on "Being Latino in Iowa." Reporter Rob Dillard will bring us stories about how this growing minority group is transforming some aspects of life here. Latinos now make up five percent of Iowa's overall population, numbering more than 152,000. That's a nearly 84% increase since 2000. Many of these newcomers are settling in rural areas of the state. Rob starts his series by looking at how that's altering the character of small-town Iowa.